Commentary

To the remaining, b-ware

POSTED AT 12:00 AM ON May. 12, 2005 

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Who said all the fun leaves Bloomington once the vast majority of the students do? Summer in Bloomington offers a tranquil alternative to the hustle and bustle 37,000-plus students bring during the fall and spring semesters.

The streets which penetrate campus open up like clogged arteries following angioplasty. The SRSC and HPER clear out, meaning waits for the Ab-Cruncher 3000 are minimal if at all.

But with a dwindling number of college-aged peers, there are certain drawbacks to spending a summer in a town which revolves around the local university.

They lurk in the shadows during the year, biding their time, looming and waiting for the moment when the New Jersey, New York and Illinois license plates head north on SR 37, leaving Bloomington in a cloud of dust.

The local community -- or "townies" as they are so eloquently titled -- take back the town once the sun is at its brightest.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the bars that less than a week ago were filled with seemingly the entire Greek system and thousands of college co-eds looking to satisfy their addiction, albeit a legal one.

Step into a Kirkwood Avenue bar next week and the mullets might outnumber the miniskirts. The cups which used to flow with trendy Cosmopolitans now spill over with chewed and regurgitated Skoal.

Sure, there are winter and spring breaks, but the combined month of alone-time leaves the local community's appetite unfulfilled. The winters are too cold to venture out to the rock quarries or stroll along Kirkwood and the spring hiatus remains far too short for locals to even realize the town has been abandoned. But in the summer time, those who have rarely ventured away from Wal-Mart, traverse the city and reach the pinnacle of high society all the way across town -- Target.

Pickup trucks whiz by, exhaust pipes exploding at every stop, as the Chevys and Fords fill the polluted air with country music. They howl as they drive by, letting the remaining IU students know that this is their time, that for more than a three-week period they will once again re-establish Bloomington as a southern Indiana town.

So how do we as the minority combat the invasion of our region? It's simple: cross the border. That's right, believe it or not, there is much more to Bloomington than IU's beautiful campus, the local bar scene and College Mall. We live surrounded by lush forests, serene lakes and countless attractions within our reach.

Take a trip out to Griffy Lake and rent a canoe, take in the beauty of Lake Lemon or get real adventurous and sponsor a party on the water on one of Lake Monroe's countless pontoon boats.

If you're of legal drinking age, head a mere seven miles north to the Oliver Winery, where you're afforded the opportunity to taste up to eight different wines for free. If you find one you've liked, buy a bottle, maybe some cheese and some bread, and sit outside near the pond and enjoy a nice relaxing afternoon.

Sprinkle in road trips to nearby locales such as Cincinnati, Louisville, Indianapolis and Chicago and a summer "based" in Bloomington can rank among the finest.

But please, don't rebel. Don't curse the townies. Let them enjoy the four months of the year in which the city they call home will finally once again feel like it. Just take it all in, bite your tongue and bask in the sunlight by a pool, or better yet, a lake.

Don't worry, order will be restored. Just wait a few months.

 

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